A memorial commemorative of those who have served in the war as well as those who have lost their lives in it

The great and good of Berkshire gathered to consider a county war memorial. They decided ordinary soldiers should be involved too.

30 July 1919
Meeting of the War Memorial General Committee held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Reading, on the 30th July 1919.

Present
J H Benyon esquire, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Chairman
Stanley Hayward esquire, Mayor of Reading, Vice Chairman
Mrs L Hayward, Mayoress of Reading
Col T J Bowles
Louis H Beard esquire, Constable of Hungerford
Councillor W E Collier
F J K Cross esquire
W Dockar Drysdale esquire
Ernest Gardner esquire, MP
Rev F J C Gillmor
S H Hodgkin esquire
Councillor W R Howell
Dr J B Blay
Councillor Edward Jackson
A J Mackay esquire
Councillor Frank E Moring
H C Mylne esquire, Mayor of Wokingham
Councillor Thomas Norris
W Howard Palmer esquire
Major M L Porter
Councillor L E Quelch
F A Sargeant esquire, Deputy Mayor of Reading
Councillor Wm Sparks
Edmund Stevens esquire
E M Sturges esquire
G A Watson esquire
Col George S Willes

The Deputy Clerk of the Berkshire County Council submitted the resolutions adopted at the Public Meeting held on the 22nd July appointing and defining the duties of the Committee.

This being the first meeting of the Committee since their appointment the Committee proceeded to elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman, when J H Benyon esquire, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, was elected to be Chairman and Stanley Hayward esquire, Mayor of Reading, was elected to be Vice Chairman.

The Deputy Clerk of the Berkshire County Council read apologies for absence from the following:

Lady Wantage
Col F W Foley
Brigadier General J E Wigan
Alderman F A Cox
Lt Col Leslie Wilson MP
P E Crutchley esquire
W Crosland esquire
Col J C Carter
W Carter esquire, Mayor of Windsor
Sir Geo Young, bart
Major C W Darby-Griffith
C Adrian Hawker esquire
Rev W M Rawlinson
F A Simonds esquire
Mrs G S Abram

The Committee then considered the appointment of a secretary and
Resolved: That, if he be willing to act, Mr E W J Arman, late Postmaster of Reading, be appointed Honorary Secretary to the Committee.

The Deputy Clerk of the Berkshire County Council submitted a letter, dated 28th July, which the Town Clerk of Reading had received from Col F W Foley, expressing the opinion that more members of the rank and file of the many battalions of the Royal Berkshire Regiment should serve on the Committee, and, upon consideration thereof,

It was Resolved: That three nominations of NCOs or men for representation on the Committee be invited from each of the following:

1. The regular battalions of the Royal Berkshire Regiment.
2. The Berkshire Territorial Force Association.
3. The Comrades of the Great War.
4. The Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers.


[An Executive Committee was appointed]

It was decided that it be a recommendation to the Executive Committee to frame their scheme and inscription as commemorative of those who have served in the war as well as those who have lost their lives in it.

It was decided that the suggestions received from Lady Wantage, Brigadier General J T Wigan, Alderman Cox, Lt Col Walsh and others as to the form which the memorial should take be referred to the Executive Commmittee for their consideration.

The question of the desirability of limiting the amount of individual subscriptions was considered but no resolution upon the subject was passed.

Berkshire War Memorial Committee minutes (R/D134/3/1)

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“It was a moving thing to see so many of our brave men gathered together at the end of the war”

Ex-servicemen gathered in Burghfield to celebrate the peace.

On Sunday, July 6th, an ex tempore muster of Burghfield ex-service men took place at the Hatch, where about 28 men fell in and marched to the church under Lieut. Searies, for the 11 o’clock service.

A fortnight later [20 July], after better notice, there was a fuller parade in which about 80 took part, including the Chapel band from the Common. Major Chance, Lieut. Searies, Staff Sergeant Major Jordan, Sergeant Wigmore, and other NCOs were present. The band played the party to and from church, and also well accompanied the three hymns (Nos. 166. 540 and 165), which were sung with great heartiness. The Service of Thanksgiving for Victory, and in memory of those who have given their lives, was conducted, in the absence of Mr Coates [the curate, who was on holiday], entirely by the Rector, who preached an eloquent and most inspiring sermon on the text – “To what purpose is this waste?” (Matthew XXVI.8). The lessons (Isaiah XXV.1-9 and John XII.23-33) were read by Mr Willink. The bells rung muffled peals before and after service.

On leaving church the little column proceeded to the Hatch recreation ground, at the entrance marching past Mr Willink and Mr Lousley, the former (by request) taking the salute. Before dismissal some photographs were taken by him, but the light was very bad and no great results can be expected.

It was a moving thing to see so many of our brave men gathered together at the end of the war in that church in which prayers have so often been offered for their safe return, and for that of others who will come back no more. May the great spirit of unity, which, with God’s help, has brought us through to peace, keep us still united in Burghfield during the years before us.

It was disappointing that the invitation to all soldiers and sailors in the Bradfield district, to the Military Festivities in Reading on July 19th had, late in the time, to be withdrawn. This cast unexpected burdens on our Committee. They hope, however, that the steps taken at the last moment will have given satisfaction all round.

Burghfield parish magazine, August 1919 (D/EX725/4)

A kaleidoscope, a transformation scene, a hurly-burly, yet an orderly hurly-burly

The people of Stratfield Mortimer celebrated.

Peace and Victory Day

Two ever-memorable days! On Sunday, July 6th, the special services of praise and joy and thanks and hope, well attended, reverent, hearty, charged with deep feeling. The evening congregation at S. John’s filled the church and the singing was noteworthy.

Then on Saturday, July 19th, the merrymaking. Our special correspondent tried in vain to be in two places at once. Yet even so he could wax eloquent on the proceedings both on the Sports’ Ground and in St. John’s Hall had not the Editor ruthlessly refused to allow adequate space. But no pen could do justice to the loyal, happy fellowship of the many workers, to the spirit of the crowd, to the joy of the children over their (unexpected) medals, to the feasting and the music, to the sports and the cricket and the dancing, to the fireworks and the great big blaze.

The Hall and all who worked there were taxed to their utmost capacity; dinner for near 100 of the demobilised; dinner for the workers; tea for 220 children; tea for 50 older folks; tea for the workers; tea for 25 scouts. A kaleidoscope, a transformation scene, a hurly-burly, yet an orderly hurly-burly. All that was wanted and nothing that was not wanted, and what more could anyone wish than that? Great credit and great thanks to the catering committee.

As for “God’s out-of-doors,” we had no procession and no cenotaph, yet probably not one old or young forgot those whom we could not see with us, yet who were with us none the less. Not one forgot to salute them. Therein lay the deeper message and meaning of all the day’s proceedings. This thought was with us even while we danced or raced, jumped or tugged or sang. All went merrily none the less. And this again is homage to the Sports Committee and to their indefatigable president, Colonel Nash.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, August 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

The war will not, strictly speaking, have “terminated”, until the peace terms have been duly ratified

The war had still not technically ended, as the treaties had not been signed. But peace celebrations were in full swing.

Peace Celebrations

At a second General Meeting, on 17th June, the recommendation of the Committee that these celebrations should take the form of a Tea, with games, etc, for the children of the parish, was approved. “Children” to include all ages up to 14, and any still attending school over that age. By the time this magazine appears it is hoped that the German Representatives will have signed the Peace Terms. But Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria remain to be dealt with, and moreover the war will not, strictly speaking, have “terminated”, until the terms have been duly ratified by the proper representative assemblies. No doubt, however, an official Peace Celebration Day will be proclaimed before this has taken place in all the countries concerned.

Meanwhile, as announced at the Meeting, the Military Authorities are arranging central functions for those who have served overseas, and there will be a gathering and entertainment in Reading.

War Memorial

At the same Meeting, further recommendations of the Committee were adopted, viz:

(a) The erection of a Cross in the Churchyard in memory of those who have fallen;

(b) The improvement of the Parish Recreation Grounds, in connection with a Sports Club to be formed.

It was referred to the Committee to raise two separate funds for these two objects (Peace Celebrations and War Memorial), the latter fund to be applied first to the Cross, and secondly to Recreation Grounds, etc.

Burghfield parish magazine, July 1919 (D/EX725/4)

10 miles behind the German lines, with no hope of rescue

A small Sulhamstead church would have an organ as a war memorial.

We are very thankful to hear that our two prisoners of war have returned safe. Sergeant George Steel, MM, has been a prisoner of war since May 1918. It will be remembered that it was at first reported that he had been killed. Private Ernest Adams was made prisoner in March 1918. His company was left 10 miles, or so, behind the German front line after their sudden sweeping advance in that month, and defended themselves there for many hours without any hope of rescue.

Lieutenant Colonel Greenley, DSO, Royal Army Service Corps, whose marriage is reported in this number, has been further distinguished by the conferment by His Majesty of the Companionship of St Michael and St George.

Major Gilbert Shepherd, RE, DSO, Chevalier Croix de Guerre, has been promoted to Brevet-Major.

AN ORGAN FOR ST MICHAEL’S CHURCH

Mrs Tyser has most generously promised to give an organ for St Michael’s Church in memory of Major George B Tyser, East Lancashire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Tyser of Oakfield, who was killed almost instantaneously on July 6th, 1916. He was last seen in the act of encouraging his men across to the enemy trenches in one of the brilliant assaults that we were then making.

Mr J Price, Wilts Regiment, has received his commission as Second Lieutenant, on discharge from the Army. We congratulate him and his family on the well-merited promotion. His brother, Mr Stanley Price, has received a similar promotion. He has been gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, and is now engaged in instruction work. He, too, receives our best congratulations.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, February 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Reviving old organisations and starting new ones

Broad Street Chapel was getting back to normal.

From the various announcements that appear on this and other pages, our friends will see that we are busy reviving old organisations and starting new ones. In addition to those mentioned we are anxious to revive the Young People’s Union and the Boy Scouts, and we hope that before long both may be in full swing again.

Demobilization is now proceeding apace, and our men are beginning to return. We have been glad recently to see once more in our midst, and to welcome “home” Mr T. A. Green, Mr F. W. Warman, Mr J. H. Pitts, Mr Emmett and Mr J. P. Anger. Others are shortly expected, and we hope before long to have them all back.

For some time the operations of the Ladies’ Sewing Meeting have been suspended, but it has now been decided to make a fresh start. The inaugural meeting of a new session will be held in the Institute Room on Tuesday February 18th.

BROTHERHOOD

The Roll of Honour is being brought up to date, and later on we are going to have a permanent one to the memory of our brothers who have fallen in the Great War.

Reading Broad Street Congregational Magazine, February 1919 (D/N11/12/1/14)

Lieutenant East lost his leg in the service of the Country and Empire

Men were starting to return from imprisonment.

COMMISSION IN THE AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE

Mr and Mrs East, of Church Cottage, have received notification from General W Birdwood, CO, Australian Force, that their son, Mr Robert East, has been appointed Second Lieutenant from August 10th, 1917. The notification is dated 6/3/1918. It will be remembered that Lieutenant East lost his leg in the service of the Country and Empire.

RETURN OF PRISONERS OF WAR

The first prisoner of war to return to the parish has been Private Roland Pitherall, who returned at the beginning of November.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, January 1919 (D/EX725/4)

The headmaster of Three Mile Cross has received his discharge from the army

Things were getting back to normal.

Husrt
13th January 1919

I have been informed by the Education Secretary that the headmaster of Three Mile Cross has received his discharge from the army, therefore Mr Darlington will return to Hurst Boys’ School.

Speenhamland
Jan 13th

Letter from Mr Jeeves to say that the children had collected £2.0.3 during the Christmas holidays for St Dunstan’s Hostel.

Log books of Hurst C of E Boys School (D/P73/28/23);St Mary’s CE School, Speenhamland (C/EL119/3)

Due to the general prevalence of illness throughout the county, people in many districts have been averse to congregating together

Applications for roadside war memorials were starting to come before Berkshire County Council.

Report of the Highways and Bridges Committee, 11 January 1919

WAR MEMORIALS

An application has been received from the Bath Road Club for sanction to erect a war memorial, in the form of a signpost, near Aldermaston lane on the Bath road.

The Committee do not recommend that consent be given.

A similar application from Cookham for permission to erect a memorial in the form of an Iona Cross is under consideration.


Report of Agricultural Instruction Committee to Education Committee, 11 January 1919

…The Committee present the following report of the Agricultural Organiser, received from the Principal and Acting Dean of University College, Reading, viz…

It should be pointed out that [during the quarter ending 31 December 1918] the work has been disorganized by the general prevalence of illness throughout the county. People in many districts have been averse to congregating together, with the result that in some places it was impossible to get audiences, whilst in others it was found necessary to postpone, or cancel, lectures which had been arranged. Moreover most, if not all members engaged on county work, have suffered illness during the quarter.

G S Bedford
Agricultural Organiser…

TRAINING OF DISCHARGED OFFICERS

The Committee have been asked to carry out a scheme for the training in agriculture of discharged officers; and a special Sub-committee has been appointed, consisting of representatives of this Committee, the Agricultural Executive Committee and the War Pensions Committee (in consultation with the Local Director of the Ministry of Labour). Under the scheme selected officers will receive an allowance of £125 per annum for 2 years, and additional allowances will be made to married officers, with children, up to £90. The administration of the scheme, and the amount of award, have been entrusted to this committee….

TRAINING OF MILKERS

Out of 29 applications, fifteen certificates have been awarded to women who (without State assistance) had been milking since the commencement of the war, and previous to 1918. Letters of appreciation have been sent to the applicants whose work was satisfactory, but whose length of service did not entitle them to certificates….

BCC minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

The employment on light duty – wherever reasonably possible – of men discharged from the colours on medical grounds

Policemen returning from the armed forces were not to suffer for their service.

11 January 1919

REINSTATEMENT OF POLICE

A circular from the Secretary of State, Home Office, dated 21 November 1918, was read as to the employment on light duty – wherever reasonably possible – of men discharged from the colours on medical grounds who are below the standard of health required of candidates for appointment to the Police. In such cases where men who are drawing army pensions are so employed, they should be given the full pay appropriate to the work. Any reduction of pay on account of pension is inadmissible.

Chief Constable’s report…

PC 58, Giles, has been re-examined by the Police Surgeon after three months’ trial on light police duty, who certifies that he is fit for indoor work or to act as a chauffeur of motor car. As this Constable was wounded in the wrist by a gunshot wound when on military service, I propose, subject to your approval, to allow him to remain in the Force to carry out duties as recommended by the Police Surgeon, so long as he continues medically fit for such duties.
Approved.

The following Constables have been released from military service, and commenced, or will commence, Police duty as follows:

PC 180 Plumb 16 December 1918
PC 186 Newman 1 January 1919
PC 55 Sellwood 1 January 1919
PC 187 Hankins 1 January 1919
PC 4 Green 1 January 1919
PC 26 Rogers 1 January 1919
PC 29 Simmons 6 January 1919
PC 67 West 6 January 1919
PC 163 Hubbard 20 January 1919
PC 86 Tubb 20 January 1919

Steps will be taken for the re-attestment of all men who rejoin the Force after being employed on military or naval service.

I also recommend that men who rejoin this Force should be allowed to reckon their military or naval service not only towards approved service for purposes of Police Pension (as provided in the Police Emergency Acts) but also for promotion and allowances in the scale of pay, etc.

Approved.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

War echoes

The war was over but not forgotten.

WAR ECHOES

Honours and Promotions

Temporary Captain G H B Chance (MGC) to be Temporary Major (November). Harry D West (RGA) is Farrier Sergeant Major (date unknown).

Casualty

Private William West (MGC), died in France (of broncho-pneumonia).

Repatriation

Private F J Painter (5th Royal Berks)

Christmas Parcels

In view of the difficulties both of obtaining things to send, and of ascertaining correct addresses, and also in consideration of the fact that hostilities are suspended, Mr Willink has made no arrangements for sending parcels this season to sailors and soldiers. They may be sure, however, that they are not forgotten by all at home.

The Influenza

This epidemic, which has amounted to a veritable plague, seems to be abating in this country. We are told that throughout the world it has directly, or by after-effects, caused over 6 million deaths, more than the number reported from action of this war of 4 ½ years.

WAR SAVINGS

Peace and Thanksgiving Campaign

The war may be practically over, but money is still urgently required for a time. The National War Savings Committee have been called on by the Government to make one more big effort during the period ending with next autumn. Berkshire’s share is assessed at £900,000, of which our Bradfield Local Committee are asked to raise £50,000. with this object, Lantern Lectures, with excellent slides, will be given in each Association’s area from January to April. The present arrangements for Burghfield are:

January 8th War on Land
February 5th War in Italy
March 5th War at Sea
April 2nd War in the Holy Land

The first and third will be at the Handicraft Room, Mrs Bland’s School; the second and fourth in the Jubilee Room or the C of E School, 7 o’clock in all cases.

The Committee hope that readers of the magazine will make these facts known, and do their best to see that the campaign is a success.

A Burghfield War Memorial

It is, perhaps, too soon to begin public consultation of this matter. But it is not too soon to begin thinking about it. Probably we are all agreed that there should be some visible memorial of this Great War to keep alive the recollection of the working part playing in it by Burghfield men.

Burghfield parish magazine, January 1919 (D/EX725/4)

“Services no longer required”

The end of the war meant one priosn officer had a very short time in the army.

14th Novr 1918

Warder Northam

This officer who was mobilized on the 5th instant was yesterday discharged from the Army, “services no longer required”, and he returned to Prison duties today. His Record of Service and Medical History were returned to the Head Office on the 6th instant – also the Exemption Card.

C M Morgan
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

7000 from 1914 have gone back home

As the war approached its end, some of the soldiers who had been fighting the longest had already been discharged or sent home on leave.

4 November 1918

Soldiers came in afternoon. Quite a nice set. Got here rather late, so hurried up to see house as getting dark. They stayed till past 7 o’clock. One told me 7000 from 1914 had gone back home. Others 90 days rest behind line.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/9)

Special courses for discharged soldiers who wish to enter the teaching profession

Newbury welcomed former soldiers to the teaching profession.

Friday, September 27th, 1918

Teachers on Military Service

The Sub-committee much regret to report that Lieut. M. Rose, Hants Regiment, has died as a result of wounds received in action in France. Mr Rose was on the staff of the Newbury Boys’ Council School, and left to enter the army in June 1916. This school has now lost two of its masters in the war.

Training of Discharged Soldiers

A circular letter was received from the Board of Education, with reference to the establishment of special courses for discharged soldiers who wish to enter the teaching profession, and suggesting that applicants from each area should be medically examined by the School Medical Officer. The Sub-committee were informed that the Committeee’s School Medical Officer (Dr R. Hickman) had kindly offered to medically examine any candidate from this area without payment of the usual fee.

Finance, School Management and General Purposes Sub-committee of the Education Committee of Newbury Borough Council: minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Land for ex-service men

Berkshire County Council’s Smallholdings and Allotments Committee investigated whether ex-soldiers might take up farming in the area.

12 October 1918

Provision of land for ex-service men
A circular letter, dated the 16 September 1918, has been received from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, calling attention to the provisions of the Small Holdings Colonies (Amendment) Act, 1918, the object of which is to provide land for ex-service men. The Board suggest – among other things – that a preliminary inquiry be made amongst the soldiers working on farms in the county as to whether they are desirous of adopting agriculture in the County of Berks or elsewhere as a means of livelihood after the war.

This suggestion has been adopted in order that the Committee may ascertain the demand for land in the County.

Report of BCC Smallholdings and Allotments Committee, 12 October 1918 (C/CL1/21)